The February 2nd issue of Maclean’s pours scorn on the concept of forcing students to write the same thing over and over again as a punishment. So, while its editors are writing “We will not put fictitious future dates on our publication” 100 times, allow me to explain why they are wrong.
Maclean’s “ScoreCard” praised “Donald Lucas: Gutsy Stirling, Ont. Grade 8er rebels at teacher’s order to write lines for not doing homework. Says tedious task ‘puts the mind into neutral.’ Instead, negotiates right to pen essay on the folly of writing lines. Smart kid, sure. Smart teacher, too.” And this very newspaper called his punishment “a mindless activity of repetition … not something a learning institution should be encouraging. A school, and a teacher, for that matter, should strive for knowledge.” They should. But knowledge comes in many forms and in many ways.
So let me tell you a tale. There was once this kid who spent years in a kind, nurturing school where they never made him do anything he didn’t want to do lest, say, correcting his spelling were to give him a low “self of steam.” If he disobeyed instructions he was rewarded with a really interesting assignment involving yet more impudence, and praised by the press. One day he graduated and got a job as an intern at a newspaper. But he was assigned a story he didn’t feel like doing. It would involve tedious phone calls and slogging around in bad weather talking to dull people with no post-graduate degrees at all. So he blew it off and, when reproached, sassed his editor. Continue Reading →
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